Bill Aims to Cut Need for College Remedial Courses - Higher Education
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Bill Aims to Cut Need for College Remedial Courses

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The Promoting Readiness in Education to Prevent Additional Remediation and Expense (PREPARE) Act, introduced by Democrat presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar and two of her Senate colleagues, is aimed at helping to reduce the need for students to take remedial courses when pursuing post-secondary education and improving degree-completion rates.

The bill, sponsored by the Minnesota senator, Alabama Democrat Doug Jones and New Hampshire Democrat Maggie Hassan, is intended to better align high school graduation requirements with entrance requirements for credit-bearing post-secondary coursework and provide resources to schools to strengthen their remedial programs and improve outcomes.

The PREPARE Act would provide competitive five-year grants to states to align high school and post-secondary education. Recipient states would be required to align high school graduation requirements with entrance requirements for credit-bearing coursework in state institutions of higher education; develop statewide standards for placement in remedial coursework based on multiple indicators; and develop statewide articulation agreements between high schools and public institutions of higher education and among public institutions of higher education in the state.

Although the nation’s high school graduation rate is at an all-time high of 84 percent, many graduates are academically unprepared for college. More than one-third of first-year college students take some type of remedial coursework in math or English.

While remedial education is intended to help students attain the skills they need to succeed in college, it can deter completion by adding to the cost and the time it takes to complete to a degree.

The PREPARE Act aims to address this issue by simultaneously reducing rates of post-secondary remediation and increasing rates of post-secondary completion.

“College is already costly for students and their families, and every remedial course that a student has to take increases the price of his or her education and delays the completion of a degree,” said Jones, a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. “Students shouldn’t have to spend their precious tuition and financial aid dollars on coursework that doesn’t count towards their degree.”

Klobuchar said the legislation, if enacted, “will help more students get through school by making sure they are prepared for the rigor of higher education while also offering courses to those who need additional support once enrolled.”

Numerous organizations have endorsed the bill, ranging from the National Urban League and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities to Bard College and the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

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